KATHMANDU, July 14: Amid long-running dispute between two parallel Nepal Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the National Sports Council´s (NSC) recent recommendation to the government to dissolve both, the Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan-led NOC, which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is preparing for Nepal´s participation in the London Olympics.
The other NOC led by Rukma Shumsher Rana has been recognized by the Supreme Court but rejected by the IOC.
Pradhan-led NOC on June 25 had announced a 17-member Nepali squad, which includes five athletes and three coaches, for the Olympics. However, Republica understood that nine other NOC officials are also flying to London as part of the Nepali delegation to the Olympics. The Olympic games are being held in London from July 27 to August 12.
Sprinters Pramila Rijal and Tilak Ram Tharu, and swimmers Shreya Dhital and Prasiddha Jung Shah secured London´s ticket through ´universal places´ while shooter Sneha Rajya Laxmi Rana received wild-card entry.
The 17-member team includes athletics coach Tika Sedhai, swimming coach Wangden Lama and shooting coach Dhruba Bikram Shah. Likewise, Ranjit Baral has been included in the squad as team doctor.
NOC office bearers Ganga Bahadur Thapa (volleyball), Rabi Rajkarnikar (athletics), Jyoti Rana (tennis) and Dhirendra Pradhan (football) have also been included in the team. Among the officials, only Rajkarnikar is related to a participating sport.
Meanwhile, businessman Chandi Shrestha is traveling to London as Olympic guest while two sports journalists have also been included in the 17-member team.
NOC had announced NSC Member Secretary Yubaraj Lama as chef de mission though he has been refusing to take the charge. NOC has not appointed new chef de mission after Lama refused to take the charge and recommended to the government to dissolve the NOC.
"Till today (Thursday) Member Secretary Lama is the chef de mission of the Nepali squad. After the new development [NSC´s recommendation to dissolve the NOCs], we can appoint any other official as chef-de-mission," said Jeewan Ram Shretha, the general secretary of the NOC.
Though NOC could manage participation of only five players, it succeeded to manage accreditation for a numbers of officials for the London 2012.
Though NOC had not announced their name in the squad, NOC treasurer Chhimi Urken Gurung (cycling) as well as NOC members Rajiv Shrestha (boxing) and Ramji Bahadur Shrestha (badminton) are also flying to London. Likewise, Trishakti Sundar Joshi, a relative of NOC General Secretary Shrestha, is also to tour London as Olympic guest.
"As we have only five athletes participating in the London 2012, our team could have not more than 17 members," said General Secretary Shrestha. "However, one delegate could be replaced by the other. The three NOC officials and an Olympic guest could attend London 2012 only if other officials leave London early," Shrestha tried to clarify.
NOC has appointed Shankar Gaire, who has been residing in London now and has no relation with Nepali sports, as the attaché of the Nepali team. "The attaché is for assisting Nepali team until the chef-de-mission takes charge in the Olympic village," said Shrestha.
NOC President Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan and his spouse Nirmala Shrestha Pradhan as well as General Secretary Shrestha and his wife Pratima Joshi are also visiting London.
"IOC has a tradition of inviting president and general secretary of all the national Olympic committees along with their partners in the Olympic events and they are not considered as team members," said NOC member Laxman Shrestha.
Though NSC and other authorities concerned have been demanding transparency within NOC and criticizing the jumbo-sized delegation, NOC is not ready to accept such criticism. "We are transparent enough and we have already announced the Nepali squad. There hasn´t been any irregularity in forming the squad since IOC itself provides us a limited quota for the Olympics," said general secretary Shrestha.
Meanwhile, Purushottam Prasad Shrestha, treasurer of the Rana-led NOC that is recognized by Supreme Court verdict in 2010, claimed that there are more people in the Nepali squad than what has been made public but he could not provide the names.
"We have asked the authorities concerned to stop the officials other than athletes and coaches from participating in the London Olympics," said Shretha.